SAP Extends Maintenance for SAP NetWeaver 7.5 and SAP BW/4HANA
End of Maintenance Will Be Aligned with SAP Business Suite and SAP S/4HANA
by Robert Holland, VP Research and Publishing, SAPinsider
In early February 2020, SAP announced that it would extend the end of mainstream maintenance for SAP ERP 6.0 and the core applications of SAP Business Suite 7 until the end of 2027. In the same announcement, SAP also indicated it would provide optional extended maintenance for these solutions until 2030. This gave many ERP customers breathing room around their SAP S/4HANA migrations, which previously needed to be complete by the end of 2025.
Not included in the February announcement was a corresponding modification to the maintenance strategy for SAP NetWeaver 7.5 — the platform on which SAP Business Suite is based. That changed on April 7th when, in an SAP Community article, Karl Kessler announced that the maintenance strategy for SAP NetWeaver 7.5 would be fully aligned with SAP Business Suite 7, and the product and innovation strategies for SAP BW/4HANA would similarly be aligned with SAP S/4HANA.
As with SAP Business Suite 7, mainstream maintenance for SAP NetWeaver 7.5 has been extended until the end of 2027 and extended maintenance will be offered until the end of 2030 with a price premium. In addition, the alignment of the product and innovation strategies for SAP BW/4HANA with that of SAP S/4HANA will result in SAP BW/4HANA being maintained through the end of 2040.
As most SAP customers are seeing at least some disruption to their 2020 planning due to the ongoing global pandemic, the extended maintenance of SAP NetWeaver and SAP BW/4HANA combined with the earlier announced maintenance changes for SAP Business Suite 7 will allow them valuable time to determine their next steps in any transition.
How Will This Work?
According to Kessler’s article, the extended support for SAP Business Suite 7 covers enhancement packages 6, 7, and 8 for SAP ERP 6.0 and enhancement packages 2, 3, and 4 for SAP CRM 7.0, SAP SRM 7.0, and SAP SCM 7.0. To support these products, maintenance for SAP NetWeaver 7.5 has been extended for the same period as SAP Business Suite 7, and includes both SAP NetWeaver Application Server for ABAP and SAP NetWeaver Application Server for Java based on version 8 of SAP’s Java Virtual Machine. Mainstream maintenance will still cease at the end of 2020 for pre-7.5 versions of SAP NetWeaver, including SAP NetWeaver 7.4, 7.3, 7.31, and 7.1x, which are all based on Java 6 and hence are not suitable for any extended maintenance period.
Since the SAP NetWeaver stack is built on database platforms — such as SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise, SAP MaxDB, and others offered by third-party vendors — that have been thoroughly tested on various operating systems, SAP has committed to work closely with its operating system and database partners to qualify new valid combinations for SAP Business Suite 7 and SAP NetWeaver. This is a critical step as there will be many supported database and operating system versions during the maintenance time frame for SAP NetWeaver 7.5. SAP will document the valid platform combinations in its Product Availability Matrix (PAM). It may be necessary for customers to update their underlying operating system and database versions multiple times over the course of the next 7-10 years if they wish to continue running SAP NetWeaver 7.5 and SAP Business Suite 7, so regularly verifying their platform combinations will be essential.
Are Other Products Impacted?
In addition to the maintenance extension for SAP NetWeaver 7.5, SAP has announced that it will extend mainstream maintenance for SAP Enterprise Portal to the end of 2027, with optional extended maintenance available until 2030. However, while maintenance will be extended for SAP Enterprise Portal on SAP NetWeaver 7.5, SAP does not intend to add anything beyond minor functional enhancements to the product over the next seven years. While it is unlikely that there will be major functional enhancements to any products with maintenance extensions, SAP Enterprise Portal was the only product specifically called out by Kessler as not receiving anything beyond minor enhancements. The change in maintenance dates is being offered primarily to support customers transitioning their portal scenarios to the cloud.
In addition to SAP Enterprise Portal, SAP will extend maintenance for SAP Process Integration 7.5 and SAP Process Orchestration 7.5 to the end of 2027. The end of maintenance for SAP Process Integration 7.4 and SAP Process Orchestration 7.4 and older will remain unchanged and no option for extended maintenance will be provided. This means that if customers wish to continue running these products, they will need to move onto version 7.5 before the end of 2020. Kessler provided some recommendations for upgrading to the 7.5 release in his article.
Even though SAP NetWeaver AS for ABAP is the platform on which many of the applications that are part of SAP Business Suite 7 and other solutions are based, SAP NetWeaver AS for ABAP 7.5x is already in maintenance mode. So, while this platform will be supported through the maintenance dates that SAP mentioned, innovations will be added only to the ABAP platform that serves as the foundation for SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment. For customers transitioning from the SAP NetWeaver ABAP stack to the ABAP platform, SAP provides tools such as the ABAP test cockpit to both facilitate the transition as well as provide custom code analysis and adaptation.
Customers should check the PAM for updated information on any SAP NetWeaver add-ons they might be using as SAP continues to work on its alignment strategy for these solutions. SAP plans to communicate about maintenance changes for these add-ons through the PAM as well as the SAP notes for each SAP NetWeaver add-on.
What Does This Mean for SAPinsiders?
While the extended support for SAP NetWeaver and SAP BW/4HANA seemed likely given the extension of mainstream maintenance for SAP Business Suite 7 announced in February, the official confirmation affirms SAP’s commitment to fully supporting customers’ underlying platforms. To gain the most benefit from these changes, the SAPinsider Community should be taking the following steps:
- Continue planning for the migration to SAP S/4HANA and SAP BW/4HANA. The changes to the maintenance time frames for SAP Business Suite 7 and SAP NetWeaver provides additional time for customers to migrate to SAP S/4HANA and SAP BW/4HANA, which has become necessary for many SAPinsiders whose plans for 2020 have been — or will likely be — significantly altered due to the global pandemic. Even if evaluations of these solutions are postponed into 2021 or later, migration plans should continue as soon as it is possible because some amount of the time gained by the maintenance changes will be lost by the changed agenda for 2020.
- Regularly check the PAM for supported database and operating system combinations. Most SAP customers are intimately familiar with the PAM, but many may not check it on a regular basis. Since the end-of-maintenance dates for the databases and operating systems supporting SAP NetWeaver will change much more frequently than the platform itself, it is important to check the PAM regularly to stay informed about when things change. In addition, customers using SAP NetWeaver add-ons need to check the PAM to find out when and if maintenance on those solutions changes.
- Get advice from and ask questions of peers facing similar challenges. SAPinsider is planning virtual events on SAP S/4HANA; governance, risk, and compliance (GRC); financials; and BI, cloud, and cybersecurity starting on April 21st. These events will offer dozens of live and on-demand sessions conducted primarily by other members of the SAPinsider Community. Hear what they are doing and how they are facing the current environment.
- Tell us what you think. SAPinsider regularly runs surveys to gain insight into the SAPinsider Community. You can find a complete list of all the surveys currently running on our website, and I encourage you to let us know what you are experiencing with your SAP solutions, and what is happening with your 2020 plans.
Following this guidance should help the SAPinsider Community make appropriate decisions around their SAP NetWeaver and SAP BW/4HANA plans.
Robert Holland, Vice President of Research & Publishing, SAPinsider, can be reached at email@example.com.